Xi'an, now the capital of Shaanxi Province, was then called "Chang'an" as the capital of several dynasties since thousands years ago. As the starting point of the ancient Silk Road, the prosperity over the ages has brought the city a deep historical heritage. Chang'an Times, carries the ancient capital in the present and the past in the name of the city, and accompanies the ancient capital to the future with the posture of architecture.
The project is located three kilometers away from Bell Tower, at the intersection of Chang'an Middle Road, the central axis of Xi'an, and the Second Ring Road. It is surrounded by cultural and educational facilities such as Chang'an University and Shaanxi Provincial Library, and is also close to the Xiaozhai business district, the number one business district in Northwest China, which is a unique geographical advantage. Chang'an Times used to be Xi'an Automobile and Machinery School. It was built in 1955 in a brick and mortar structure. Later after expansion, the west side was in frame structure, while the east side was still in brick and mortar structure. Before the renovation, it was a five-story U-shaped multi-tenant building, and now it’s became a commercial complex for commercial and educational stores and offices.
Starting from the history of the old city’s central axis, we integrated the symbol of the ancient city wall into our design, and made the east and west sides of Chang'an Times fit the city view in different ways, with a design concept that has combined commercial and humanistic values, so that the historical heritage of Xi'an and the architectural sustainability values are in full view, creating a beautiful new chapter of the ancient city.
In Xi'an, the ancient city walls are now still standing in the middle of the city, the contrast between the old and the new is the unique charm of this ancient capital. Therefore, the core of our design is to create an iconic landmark of the new era of Xi’an, which incorporates the elements of Xi'an city wall and respect for the city's history, by measurement and research of the bricks on the city wall.
On the west side of the project facing the city axis, we designed a large-scale facade responding to the grandeur of the city; while on the east side facing the Chang'an University, we designed a three-dimensional commercial area open to pedestrians in order to correspond to the rich humanistic elements interwoven with the green space, and show the overall spatial structure through the combination of the front and back (inside and outside) of the city wall.
The building facade is in Xi'an City Wall theme. The upper level simulates the brick system of the city wall by using three different block shapes of aluminum, which brings the building its own character; the lower store section features a high curtain wall, which enhances the visibility of the stores’ interior. With the combination of the different designs of the facade, it looks like that the great ancient city wall is floating there, which is both beautiful and symbolic.
On the east side facing much green space and the campus, we designed a terrace-field-like commercial area by detailed calculation and division and made it more user-friendly. Each store owns an open terrace so that people can travel between the city facility and the nature at will.
Considering the project's location in the development zone, perforated aluminium panels and glass are adopted to create an urban impression of Xi'an. Meanwhile, inside the project, where traditional elements are much used, we also use wall tiles to echo the design of west facade. In addition, the dominant color of the Chang'an Road side is white, while of the Chang'an University side is earth tones in contrast.
On the facade facing Chang'an Road, we designed a special-shaped LED screen spliced by many smaller panels in brick shape. The panel screen is designed with a concave and convex city wall texture, allowing itself to own a richer and more diverse expression. We also designed a video projection display corresponding to the LED form, using the light to show the modernism of the ancient capital and integrate the building into the trend of the times.
As sustainability is becoming more and more valued nowadays, there is a global trend to reuse existing buildings in cities. Xi'an's urban area is large in scale, with the central main road of about 20 kilometers, in which buildings spanning thousands of years and now coexist with people at the same time. Based on the relationship between the scale of the city and the symbolism of the landmark, Chang'an Times gathers the charm of the city, with an impressive symbolism of both the ancient and the modern on the front side, and a rich walkable space on the back side, creating a double sustainability of the architecture and providing a new and extraordinary experience for Xi'an.
In the well-known historic city of Xi'an, Chang'an Times will be more than a new symbolic building of the city, it will become the activator of the region, blending the ancient charm with the new trend of the city.